Monday, April 17, 2006

Ethics and the defense attorney who represents alleged rapists

With the aggressive spin coming from defense attorneys in the Duke rape case, this is a good time to think about what constitutes slander and harassment against alleged victims and prosecution witnesses.

Can defense attorneys have it both ways: slamming any negative press about their clients with: "Innocent until proven guilty!" while simultaneously doing everything they can to paint alleged victims as liars or worse?

MSNBC-TV's Dan Abrams talked with Joseph Cavallo, a defense attorney named in a civil suit and attorney Gloria Allred last month about a civil case filed by a sexual assault victim.

Mr. Cavallo said, "Do you control yourself when you’re defending somebody’s life? We’re looking at 192 years for three teenage boys for a 20-minute interlude."

Apparently an alleged gang rape is nothing more than a 20-minute interlude to this man. The implication is that the punishment should be based on the duration of the crime, not its severity. Most armed robberies take much less than 20 minutes, but I haven't heard defense attorneys in those cases using the 5-minute defense. And I've never heard of a jury buying that type of defense when the charges don't involve sexual violence.

He seems to believe if the defense team can spin the truth until the victim looks like she caused the crime, then that's what they must do -- as long as their actions aren't likely to lead to criminal charges against them. He also refuses to take responsibility for all actions taken by people the defense team hires.

Dan Abrams said: "... I get disturbed by this notion that criminal defense attorneys can say whatever they want at anyone’s expense simply because -- and then they can say you know what, I’m just defending my client. "

Damn the victims, full speed ahead.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 1:56 PM   0 comments links to this post

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